MILLER, S.D. (KELO) – Miller High School is back open this fall, for the first time since an explosion and fire last February. Even after months of cleaning and rebuilding, not everything is quite back to normal.

Students were in their first period class on February 2.

“We all heard the boom. And then all of a sudden, the fire alarms went off and we all went outside, and we didn’t really know what happened,” senior Ally Mullaney said. 

Principal Steve Schumacher was in his office when it happened. 

“There was black smoke. I mean, I was the last one out of the building and you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face as I walked out of the building,” he said. 

Everyone got out safely, but there was a lot of damage. 

“They took all the carpet out, all the ceiling tiles replaced, all of that, painted everything. A lot of the wiring due to the fire was damaged, so there was a lot of electricians around,” Schumacher said. 

All books and other classroom supplies and equipment had to be thrown out and replaced. The shop, where the explosion and fire happened, was torn down entirely. 

The new shop will be built this school year, but it won’t quite be ready until next August. It’ll include new equipment to enhance the agriculture and construction courses offered.

This is superintendent Eric Norden’s first year in Miller.  

“We have bays and opportunities where we can expand what we do have offered. And you know, with everything being new in the building now, we can move forward with some other things,” he said. 

In the meantime, shop classes are being held elsewhere. Students and stuff are just happy to be back in the building, especially the seniors. 

“It feels good, yeah. We got all our stuff back. Hopefully just a normal senior year. Got our gym back, so games are normal and practices so it was a lot better,” she said. 

“There was a little more energy this year just in all of our kids coming back those first few days,” Schumacher said. 

Schumacher says they believe a spark flew into an oil barrel in the shop that may have had some old gas which set off the explosion.